In my last blogging related post I thought I’d share some of the ways that I brainstorm new blog content. Mostly because this is a question that pops up quite a bit on social media. I’ve also noticed that there are a hell of a lot of posts out there dictating what you should have or do as a blogger. Especially if you want to “make it” so to speak.
Sometimes I read these posts and roll my eyes as it’s another post promoting something unnecessary. Trying to get you to use affiliate links or sign up to newsletters, or worse, spend money on something that you honestly don’t need.
Apart from my blog domain and hosting, I don’t really spend a penny on anything else for my blog. I don’t advertise, I don’t pay for expensive programs, I don’t have an expensive camera etc, etc. Despite this I manage to get a good stream of work. I blog at least a couple of times a week and my blog is IMO doing fairly well in the grand scheme of things.
So here I sit, at my desk, cup of tea in hand writing up some free blogging essentials that anyone can use to stay on track and build up a good audience. I’m not promising the world. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll make your millions or gain 2 billion followers on Twitter. Just some simple, easy options for you to take or leave.
Now the thing with social media is that you want people to actually click on your blog post links right? Well, there are people all over the world just sitting there waiting for your post to pop up. You’ve just got to get the timing right. There are so many free scheduling tools you can use to get your posts seen at even the craziest time of night. Remember it’s night time here, it’s lunch time somewhere else.
The two I use personally are Hootsuite and Social Pilot. You can set them up to pull your blogs RSS feed automatically so when a new post goes live both programs will share the links across your social media. I found this a great way to promote new blog posts especially when you are short on time.
You can also use both to schedule posts in advance. I prefer Social Pilot as it allows me to reschedule previous posts in one click rather then having to retype everything out. This is on the free version, I know on Hootsuite if you pay you can do this. I also like the way that SP promotes other relevant blogs to you so you can schedule in other articles to break things up a bit.
This sounds a lot fancier then it is. Literally mine is a spreadsheet with date/blog title/category/status. This allows me to plan a month or two in advance. I can also easily see what categories I need to concentrate on more and if I have room to add in any unplanned sponsored material that pops up during the month.
In September I have scheduled in new posts for Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. I also have all the blog post titles in so I have an idea of what’s coming up. These may change around a little but at least I can relax knowing I have a months worth of content ready to be written and published.
Previously I’ve stuck to posting twice a week as I really like to write more in depth blog posts of 800+ words but I know this isn’t always possible. Especially where unpaid product reviews come in as of course I prioritise paid work over gifted opportunities. As would most people I assume. I’m actually planning 2018 already on the events, blog content and internet side of things. I’m planning on starting YouTube in January and have already started building a content calendar for that.
a basic camera
Look, I’m not gonna lie, I did have a professional camera up until earlier this year. It was one I’d had for years and I sold it as it was too big, clunky and far too advanced for what I needed it for. I now only use my phone to take my blog pictures. Everything you see on this blog and on social media these days are taken on either my Samsung Galaxy S7 or my husbands S8.
You don’t need an expensive fancy camera to take blog pictures. Please if you are a new blogger don’t fall into this trap. A new camera is a large expense that you don’t need unless you want to invest in it for other reasons as well as blogging. I’ve seen so many new blogs pop up, the bloggers splashing out on expensive gear to run out of steam and give up after 6 months and be stuck with a camera gathering dust.
I’m not saying don’t buy one. Just make sure it’s for the right reasons and will be a sound investment. I’ll put it this way. I’m now looking for a compact camera suitable for video and vlogs ready for January. So far the ones that I’ve been recommeded are ridiculously priced. Honestly, I have a house, two kids and unexpected bills to account for. I cannot spend £600+ on a camera.
I’m eyeing up the Canon EOS M10 Camera as it’s reasonably priced. It’s compact and it has one of those flip screens that I want. At half the price of most of the cameras YouTube stars use, it’s a steal and I would be comfortable buying this. Plus you get the added bonus of getting a decent lens with this one.
I hope this post has helped a few people to realise that you don’t need money to be a successful blogger. You just need a platform, some basic tools and an engaged audience to reap success. Please don’t be persuaded to part with cash for things that are unnecessary as it just sets up for disappointment in the long run.
You don’t need to spend a penny when you start a blog. I didn’t.
*Post contains affiliate links.
– Emma –
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